Book Review: Bream Gives Me Hiccups by Jesse Eisenberg

Bream Gives Me HiccupsBream Gives Me Hiccups by Jesse Eisenberg
Publisher: Audible Studios
Release Date: September 8, 2015
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Publisher’s Description:

Taking its title from a group of stories that begin the book, Bream Gives Me Hiccups moves from contemporary LA to the dorm rooms of an American college to ancient Pompeii, throwing the reader into a universe of social misfits, reimagined scenes from history, and ridiculous overreactions. In one piece, a tense email exchange between a young man and his girlfriend is taken over by his sister, who is obsessed with the Bosnian genocide (“The situation reminds me of a little historical blip called the Karadordevo agreement”); in another, a college freshman forced to live with a roommate is stunned when one of her ramen packets goes missing (“She didn’t have one of my ramens. She had a chicken ramen”); in another piece Alexander Graham Bell has teething problems with his invention (“I’ve been calling Mabel all day, she doesn’t pick up! Yes, of course I dialed the right number – two!”).
United by Eisenberg’s gift for humor and character, the witty pieces collected in Bream Gives Me Hiccups explore the various insanities of the modern world and mark the arrival of a fantastically funny, self-ironic, and original voice.

Jesse Eisenberg is a fantastic actor and hilarious when he is interviewed on talk-shows so I had high hopes for the audio book version of Bream Gives Me Hiccups, his debut short-story collection. It’s a mix of longer, more in depth short stories and vignettes, some of which are so short they are almost one-liners. The longer stories are witty, ironic and insightful. My favorite one was the series of letters written by a college freshman, severely lacking in self-awareness, to her high school guidance counselor. I was amazed at how well he captured the mind of a selfish teenage girl – and how well he sounded like one in his narration of the story.

A lot of the vignettes are funny, stream of conscience musings. They were a fun, little break in between the longer stories. The audio book is largely narrated by Eisenberg with a few supporting characters. He is as amazing at narration as he is at acting. I think listening to him narrate the stories added another layer of fantastic on top of an already wonderful book. It exceeded my expectations for sure. I recommended it to everyone.

(I received a complementary copy of this audio book for review.)


  • bermudaonion(Kathy)

    This sounds fantastic. I think the audio must be the way to go.

  • S.G. Wright

    I agree, Eisenberg seems so talented in a number of ways. I heard him on NPR recently interviewed by Diane Rehm and he was excellent and very funny. I bet his narration of his book would be perfect. thanks for the confirmation